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Thursday 28 January 2021 saw the first of this year’s regional network meetings. There was wide variety in the groups represented this time round, ranging from Hub Leads and Advisors, to Heads of Department and Class Teachers.

With almost a month of remote learning for our students and news of changes to the end of year National Assessments, the discussions centred on how we would wish to see a fair allocation of grades and on the support and welfare of those most in need. Many reported that schools were doing their best to ensure access to learning for all. There were many interesting and original ideas about how best to assess our students with many having added their suggestions to the Government Consultation.

In the second half of the term, the regional network meeting was on Monday 8 March 2021, which was a significant day as it brought the start of face-to-face school for students. Teachers gave updates on their staged or immediate return and how they planned to use the remaining lessons this term. In breakout rooms, discussion continued on the different ways of doing appropriate, fair and secure assessments and there were a variety of ideas including the use of ZigZag, Pixl, Nov 2020 exams, questions written by teachers and exam board provided material. By the time of publishing, there will be much more definite information but the early comparison between schools was, hopefully, useful as arrangements are made and adapted in each school.

It was good to see in the chat box that teachers were giving examples of careful and constructive choice of words as they review work that has been done during lockdown. Teachers also described their plans for offering individual and small group support for students. The facility to provide additional online lessons for intervention was mentioned as a benefit of remote learning that could continue along with the effective use of Google classroom or Teams, alternative ways of marking or giving feedback and virtual parents’ evenings. Thank you to those who attended and made this a very active meeting.

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